‘Atlanta Got More Weapons’: Charles Barkley Asserts Why Only Julius Randle Can Save NY Knicks

Published 05/25/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Apr 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) drives against Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) in the third quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports | Courtesy: Reuters


The New York Knicks’ return to the playoffs had a bitter first act. During their first-round game against the Hawks, the Knicks were upset thanks to a Trae Young closing shot. The Garden’s first playoff game in eight years didn’t end the way Knicks fans had hoped. But there isn’t too much reason to panic. The Knicks only lost by a small margin, and it has only been one game one so far. But one former superstar says that Julius Randle already needs to step up.

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Julius Randle is key for the Knicks

Former NBA MVP Charles Barkley spoke about the New York Knicks – Atlanta Hawks series. He believes that Atlanta has more talent on their roster than the New York Knicks do. However, the New York Knicks do have the home-court advantage during the series. Barkley added that the Knicks’ primary concern was that Julius Randle didn’t play well. Randle will have to improve greatly in order to get the Knicks back into the second round.

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Barkley said, “The only reason you like the Knicks is because they got home-court advantage… And you saw it. Bogdanovic made two big threes, Hunter made a big three. Randle didn’t play good, I think that’s the only thing to be concerned (about). Burks played fantastic. Julius Randle is going to have to play great if they’re going to win the series. He’s going to have to dominate because Atlanta got more weapons than the Knicks do.”

Can Randle bounce back?

Randle struggled against the Hawks in game one. He went a meager 6-23 during the game and scored 15 points. He was getting a lot of defensive attention from the Hawks players. However, players like Derrick Rose and Alec Burks had a strong showing, combining for 44 of the Knicks’ 105 points. The Knicks only lost by two points, so they will be confident about their chances going into game two.

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Apr 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) shoots the ball against the Atlanta Hawks in overtime at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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Can Julius Randle turn his fortunes around in game two? Much like game one, he will have the support of a mostly packed Madison Square Garden. And Tom Thibodeau will also help him understand what he might need to improve on going into the game. If Randle can replicate his form from the regular season, then the Knicks will stand a very strong chance against the Hawks in the rest of the series.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1313 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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